About the PA program

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The Western Michigan University physician assistant program leads to a Master of Science in Medicine. It is a full-time, graduate professional program consisting of 95 semester hours taken in a prescribed sequence over a continuous 24-month period. Year one requires 48 hours of primarily classroom education. Year two requires 47 hours of primarily clinical placement education.

WMU's PA program is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, allowing graduates to sit for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination, required by most states for licensure to practice.

  • Student practicing stitches
  • PA Student Simulation
  • PA Students Anatomy
  • PA Student

PA courses

Our entry-level, full-time, 24-month, professional education curriculum that leads to a Master of Science in Medicine (MSM). After graduation you'll be prepared to take the certifying exam to become a PA.

  • The first year focuses primarily on classroom and laboratory instruction, and includes a component that addresses research issues pertinent to physician assistants.
  • The second, or clinical year, includes a variety of experiences in community teaching hospitals, clinics and physician offices.
  • Didactic First Year

    Fall semester - 17 credits

    • MDSC 6110: The Diagnostic Process I, two credits
    • MDSC 6210: Medical Pathophysiology I, one credit
    • MDSC 6310: Integrated Medicine I, two credits
    • MDSC 6320: Integrated Medicine II, two credits
    • MDSC 6330: Integrated Medicine III, two credits
    • MDSC 6410:  Procedures & Diagnostic Testing I, one credit
    • MDSC 6510: Health Promotion and Patient Counseling I, one credit
    • MDSC 6550: Professional Issues I, one credit
    • MDSC 6610: Pharmacotherapeutics I, two credits
    • MDSC 6710: Advanced Anatomy I, two credits
    • MDSC 6800: Research Concepts for Physician Assistants, one credit

    Spring semester - 17 credits

    • MDSC 6120: The Diagnostic Process II, two credits
    • MDSC 6220: Medical Pathophysiology II, one credit
    • MDSC 6340: Integrated Medicine IV, two credits
    • MDSC 6350: Integrated Medicine V, two credits
    • MDSC 6360: Integrated Medicine VI, two credits
    • MDSC 6420:  Procedures & Diagnostic Testing II, one credit
    • MDSC 6520: Health Promotion and Patient Counseling II, one credit
    • MDSC 6560: Professional Issues II, one credit
    • MDSC 6620: Pharmacotherapeutics II, two credits
    • MDSC 6720: Advanced Anatomy II, two credits
    • MDSC 6801: Research Methods II for Physician Assistants, one credit

    Summer I - 10 credits

    • MDSC 6130: The Diagnostic Process III, one credit
    • MDSC 6230: Medical Pathophysiology III, one credit
    • MDSC 6370: Integrated Medicine VII, two credits
    • MDSC 6380: Integrated Medicine VIII, two credits
    • MDSC 6390: Integrated Medicine IX, two credits
    • MDSC 6730: Advanced Anatomy III, one credit
    • MDSC 6802: Research Methods III for Physician Assistants, one credit

    Summer II - 4 credits

    • MDSC 6430:  Procedures & Diagnostic Testing III, one credit
    • MDSC 6530: Health Promotion and Patient Counseling III, one credit
    • MDSC 6630: Pharmacotherapeutics III, two credits

    Total first-year credits: 48

  • Clinical Second Year
    • MDSC 6810: Women's Health (rotation), four credits
    • MDSC 6820: Pediatrics (rotation), four credits
    • MDSC 6830: Surgery (rotation), four credits
    • MDSC 6840: Psychiatry (rotation), four credits
    • MDSC 6850: Emergency Medicine (rotation), four credits
    • MDSC 6860: Family Medicine (rotation), eight credits
    • MDSC 6870: Internal Medicine (rotation), eight credits
    • MDSC 6880: Professional Field Experience Elective I, three credits
    • MDSC 6890: Professional Field Experience Elective II, three credits
    • MDSC 7100: Research Project/Professional Experience, two credits
    • MDSC 6910: Clinical Practice I (seminar), one credit
    • MDSC 6920: Clinical Practice II (seminar), one credit
    • MDSC 6930: Clinical Practice III (seminar), one credit

    Total clinical second-year credits: 47

    Total program credits: 95

  • Graduation requirements
    • Completion of all program courses with a minimum GPA of 3.0.
    • Fulfillment of all Western Michigan University requirements for graduation.

Refer to the WMU Graduate Catalog for complete descriptions of all courses required in the PA program.

Prerequisite courses

  • Human Anatomy - 3 credits
    Anatomy and Physiology I and II are accepted for this requirement; they are not accepted for physiology prerequisite.
  • Human Physiology - upper level - 3 credits
    Pathophysiology does not fulfill this requirement.
  • Microbiology - 4 credits
    Must have an accompanying lab 
  • Biochemistry - upper level - 3 credits
    Organic Chemistry does not satisfy this requirement.
  • Developmental Psychology (Life Span) - 3 credits
    The course must cover the entire life span - from birth to death. Intro psychology courses do not meet this requirement. This course may also be called Human Growth and Development or Human Development.
  • Introductory Statistics - 3 credits
    Must contain descriptive analysis and inferential methods.

Additional Info

  •  Knowledge-based testing (like USMLE) does not satisfy any of the required prerequisites. All prerequisites must be stand alone courses. 
  • A degree in health sciences may be helpful but is not required, as long as you have completed prerequisite courses with a C or better. Any bachelor's degree will suffice, as long as you have an understanding and dedication to the PA role and mission.
  • If you already have completed a bachelor's degree and still need to take prerequisite courses, apply to WMU as a graduate non-degree student.

Tuition information

Tuition and fees

The 24-month professional program includes 95 credit hours of graduate coursework. Using rates from the 2022-23 academic year, the cost for 24 months of tuition (excluding room and board) are below. Here's an Estimated Expense Guide with details.

In-state tuition:

$69,424.10

Out-of-state tuition:

$104,136.15

Other expenses:

$21,436

Refunds

If you withdraw from classes, you'll get a full or partial tuition refund, depending on timing based on the academic calendar. Contact your academic advisor and Bronco Express before you withdraw to understand the impacts on your academic progress and financial aid.

If circumstances arise that impact on your ability to complete courses, forcing you to withdraw after the refund period, you may appeal for a refund within 12 months using the tuition charge appeal form.  Because circumstances vary, all requests are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Read more about tuition refunds on the Accounts Receivable website.